The strength of the NRL’s concussion policy has been called into question after Souths skipper Cameron Murray backed himself up to face the Roosters in Sunday’s grand final.
Murray fell after trying to tackle Kevin Naikama in the opening minutes of his side’s clash with the Roosters last Friday night.
It is the third time in 12 months that the superstar lock has been concussed in the first tackle of a game but is expected to play this weekend.
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“In the immediate post-concussion period, a player should not be allowed to return to play or training until formal medical clearance has been obtained using the NRL’s Major Injury Acknowledgment and Doctor’s Referral Form,” it says on the NRL website.
Murray had a mild headache on Saturday but passed tests at the club on Sunday and was asymptomatic on Monday. He will see an independent specialist next but may be back to talking as early as Thursday.
“I’m feeling good and luckily it’s a long shift this week so I’ve got some time for myself and my health. I feel good today so hopefully today will be symptom free and I’ll start the process tomorrow,” Murray said on Monday.
NRL 360 host Bryce Anasta said he feared the Rabbitohs’ season was over following the encounter.
“When Murray went down that night, he was an immediate threat not only to the Browns, but (to their season) because to me, Murray was going to start their attack,” Anastas said.
“So I thought they were gone when he went down and they were. First, let’s talk about this, do you think he’s right to play?”
A brief silence hung over NRL 360’s panel of Paul Kent, Phil Rothfield and James Hooper before the former answered.
“It was a really bad concussion, we said the same thing about Victor Radley last week, there are protocols that they go through and they are done within the protocols and if he passes he will play,” Kent said.
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That prompted Anasta to say, “It always passes,” before Rothfield spoke back.
“Wait a minute, I trust medical professionals. A man named Professor Chris Levy examines Cameron Murray and I suspect he will qualify. But I don’t think there’s anything brave going on, I really don’t,” Rothfield said.
“No, I don’t think so, Booth. I was sure he would play this week, put it that way.”
Kent said the bigger question is whether the NRL is doing enough to protect players from head knocks.
“The question is not whether something is brave, it’s whether the protocols in place are adequate,” he said.
“Concussions in the game, it’s my belief that I’ve been watching the game for 40 years, we’re seeing more concussions now than ever before, but we’re more aware of the concussions for HIs and everybody. the rest.
But I think the change in gameplay is bringing more controversies into the game and sometimes the game starts to speak for itself as we continue down this track because these controversies become more and more common. The more we talk about brain damage, the harder it is.
But Rothfield has more to the argument.
“You’re comparing it to the past. The athlete in rugby league today is bigger, faster, stronger, more powerful than in days past,” Rothfield said.
“John O’Neill used to weigh 95 kilos, a big prop in the game and now he’s 120-odd kilos. So that collision, that bang for more shock, that’s why we got it.”
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